Rabies is a viral infection of the brain that is transmitted by animals and that causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

Once the virus reaches the spinal cord and brain, rabies is almost always fatal. The wound from the bite may be painful or numb. Bat bites typically cause no symptoms. Rabies symptoms appear when the rabies virus reaches the brain or spinal cord, usually 30 to 50 days after a person is bitten. However, this interval can vary from 10 days to more than a year. The closer the bite to the brain (for example, on the face), the more quickly symptoms appear.

Skunks, raccoons, dogs, cats, coyotes, foxes and other mammals can also transmit the disease. Human rabies is rare in the United States. There have been only 55 cases diagnosed since 1990. However, between 16,000 and 39,000 people are vaccinated each year as a precaution after animal bites. Also, rabies is far more common in other parts of the world, with about 40,000–70,000 rabies-related deaths worldwide each year. Bites from unvaccinated dogs cause most of these cases.

If you got bitten by these animal, here are some things you can do. Thoroughly clean the wound site with soap and water for 5 minutes. If available, an antiseptic that kills viruses such as povidone-iodine, iodine tincture, aqueous iodine solution or alcohol (ethanol) should be applied after washing. If exposed, mucous membranes such as eyes, nose or mouth should be flushed well with water. It is important to follow these processes with appropriate treatment with rabies vaccine. If it is possible, call the animal control authorities.

Rabies vaccine is a vaccine used to prevent rabies. There are a number of vaccines available that are both safe and effective. They can be used to prevent rabies before and for a period of time after exposure to the virus such as by a dog or bat bite. The immunity that develops is long lasting after a full course.

Doses are usually given by injection into the skin or muscle. After exposure vaccination is typically used along with rabies immunoglobulin. It is recommended that those who are at high risk of exposure be vaccinated before potential exposure. Vaccines are effective in humans and other animals. Vaccinating dogs is very effective in preventing the spread of rabies to humans. Rabies vaccines may be safely used in all age groups. About 35 to 45 percent of people develop a brief period of redness and pain at the injection site.

About 5 to 15 percent of people may have fever, headaches, or nausea. After exposure to rabies there is no contraindication to its use. Most vaccines do not contain thimerosal. The first rabies vaccine was introduced in 1885, and was followed by an improved version in 1908. Millions of people globally have been vaccinated and it is estimated that this saves more than 250,000 people a year.

It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system. The wholesale cost in the developing world is between 44 and 78 USD for a course of treatment as of 2014. In the United States a course of rabies vaccine is more than 750 USD.

Globally used, the rabies vaccine used in in three steps, which are:

  1. Before exposure

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends vaccinating in those who are at high risk of the disease including children who live in areas where it is common. Other groups may include veterinarians, researchers, or people planning to travel to regions where rabies is common. Three doses of the vaccine are given over a one-month period on days zero, seven, and either twenty-one or twenty-eight.

  1. After exposure

For individuals who have been potentially exposed to the virus, four doses over two weeks are recommended, as well as an injection of rabies immunoglobulin with the first dose. This is known as post exposure vaccinations. For people who have previously been vaccinated, only a single dose of the rabies vaccine is required. Vaccination after exposure is neither a treatment nor a cure for rabies; it can only prevent the development of rabies in a person if given before the virus reaches the brain. Because the rabies virus has a relatively long incubation period, post exposure vaccinations are typically highly effective.

  1. Additional doses

Immunity following a course of doses is typically long lasting. Additional doses are not typically needed except in those at very high risk. Those at high risk may have tests done to measure rabies antibody in the blood, and then get rabies boosters as needed. Following administration of a booster dose, one study found 97% of immuno-competent individuals demonstrate protective levels of neutralizing antibodies at 10 years.

Rabies vaccines are safe in all age groups. About 35 to 45 percent of people develop a brief period of redness and pain at the injection site. About 5 to 15 percent of people may have fever, headaches, or nausea. Because rabies is invariably fatal, there is no contraindication to its use after exposure. Most vaccines do not contain thimerosal. Vaccines made from nerve tissue are used in a few countries, mainly in Asia and Latin America, but are less effective and have greater side effects. Their use is thus not recommended by the World Health Organization.

Doctors will give patients an indicated Anti-Rabies Vaccine (VAR) or Anti-Rabies Serum (SAR) as a further treatment for rabies. Anti-Rabies Vaccine (VAR) is a vaccine or active immunization made of a non-active rabies virus. This vaccine can be given prior to exposure (pre-exposure prophylaxis) or after an exposure (post-exposure prophylaxis). This vaccine is injected into the skin or muscles. If given after exposure, the vaccine is usually given along with Rabies Immunoglobulin (SAR).

Anti-Rabies Serum (SAR) is a passive immunization composed of Rabies Immunoglobulin, this vaccine has a function to neutralize the rabies virus caused by an animal bite. Anti-Rabies Serum is given to those with high-risk wounds, for example, patients with multiple wounds. Moreover, regarding how long does rabies vaccine work in humans, it can give protection for 7 to 10 days before the induced antibodies are formed. Therefore, SAR is not necessary for patients who have already been given the Anti-Rabies Vaccine up to 7 days prior to exposure.

Regarding how long does rabies vaccine work in humans, the immunity acquired from the vaccine can last a long time. The longevity of rabies vaccine ranges between 3 to 10 years depending on the booster dose that is given. For example, to prevent rabies, rabies vaccinations are given three times, on the day of the first injection and on day 7 and day 21 after the first injection. For those who have a high exposure of rabies, it is suggested to receive 1 booster dose once a year and every 3 to 5 years. Whereas for those who are not at high risk of rabies exposure but want to get a vaccination, vaccination is recommended every 10 years.

On the other hand, for post-exposure vaccination, 4 to 5 injections will be given if the person has not been vaccinated. If the vaccination has been done enough, the next shot will be given 2 times each year. Additional doses are usually not needed except for those at very high risk. After the booster dose, a study found that 97% of immuno-competent individuals showed a level of protection at 10 years. Therefore, about how long does rabies vaccine work in humans, immunity following a series of doses is usually long-lasting.

Rabies is almost always fatal if it is left untreated. In fact, once someone with rabies starts experiencing symptoms, they usually do not survive. This is why it is very important to seek medical attention right away following an animal bite, especially if the bite is from a wild animal. Vaccination after exposure, PEP, is highly successful in preventing the disease if administered promptly, in general within six days of infection. Begun with little or no delay, PEP is 100% effective against rabies. In the case of significant delay in administering PEP, the treatment still has a chance of success.

If you are pregnant or still in breast feeding phase, there is no evidence that the vaccine can harm unborn babies. Follow up of 200 pregnant women in Thailand found that the vaccine was safe.

It is not known if the vaccine is secreted in human milk, but any vaccine present in breast milk should not have harmful effects. For the safeties of the mother and baby you have to always consult first with your doctor first.  If you still want to learn more about Rabies Vaccine and during your visit in Bali, you can go and contact Unicare Clinic. They will provide you the information that you needed for Rabies Vaccine. Also, they will provide you the vaccine when you needed it with the handling of their professional health care.


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